Special Session on Research Ethics

Tuesday, June 12, 5:50-7:00 PM, Pacific 3

Lawrence M. Hinman, Ph.D., Director
The Values Institute
University of San Diego

I will sketch out initially two main ways of thinking about moral decision making (consequentialist and deontological), and mention a few strengths and weaknesses of each. This provides the basis for several standard models of ethical decision making (including professional ethics). Then I'd like to enlarge this standard picture by adding two elements: (a) the difference between compliance and excellence, and (b) the role of imagination in the moral life. I'll offer some concrete examples, and then conclude with some very tentative examples in the area of CS research. The examples will be offered in an invitational mode, soliciting comments from the panel and the audience.

Edward F. Gehringer
Senior LANGURE Research Ethics Fellow
Department of Computer Science
North Carolina State University

I will give an overview of the ethical issues that arise in Computer Science and Engineering research. A large portion of these are experimental, e.g., verification (if software appears to corroborate the hypothesis, is the test coverage weak, is the hypothesis weakly stated?), metrics (are the benchmarks appropriate to the phenomenon being measured, is an "unbiased" set of benchmarks chosen?), and recordkeeping (the need to keep an experimental "notebook" is poorly understood by many computing researchers). Some relate to privacy (e.g., in data mining). Others relate to intellectual property, or to artifacts (many research products can be used for good or ill, notably in the realm of security). Finally, there are human/computer issues, such as cyborgs and strong AI.

Michael C. Loui
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

I will discuss ethical issues in authorship, peer review, and publication, focusing on these issues:

Keith W. Miller
Department of Computer Science
University of Illinois at Springfield

I have particular interests in software testing and reliability, and in the possibility of moral agency for intelligent agents. I will consider the possible interactions between conflict-of-interest and software testing. That is, should your software testing be done be someone who is NOT trying to prove something with the software?